How should ringworm be treated?

  1. Ringworm of the skin and feet is usually treated with clotrimazole ointment (e.g. Canesten) or 2% miconazole cream (Daktarin) twice daily for 2 to 4 weeks until the rash has cleared. Ideally treatment should be continued for 1 to 2 weeks after the rash has healed.
  2. Ringworm of the scalp can be improved but not cured with local ointment (cream or shampoo). Fortunately it often disappears on its own over time (especially at puberty). If left untreated it may infect other children.
  3. To prevent athlete’s foot, dry the feet well after washing, especially between the toes, wear clean socks every day and use open sandals.
  4. Scalp ringworm and severe or chronic infection of skin, can be treated with oral griseofulvin 10 mg/kg/day for 6 weeks. Any secondary bacterial infection should be treated with antibiotics.
  5. Fungal infections of the nails should be treated with oral griseofulvin 10 mg/kg/day for 3 months or until the nail returns to normal. It rarely gets better without treatment.

Every effort should be made to prevent the spread of ringworm to others. Families should avoid sharing clothes, towels and combs.

Because prolonged treatment is needed to cure fungal infection of nails, it is best to confirm the diagnosis by sending some crumbly discoloured nail for fungal culture.

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